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Review: Drive

Posted January 30, 2012 by in Action







Musical Score

Total Score

91/ 100

What We Thought

Genre: ,
Actors: ,

What We Liked :

Exceedingly Stylistic, Incredible Acting, Iconic Soundtrack

What We Disliked:

Might be deemed excessively gory
Bottom Line

Cold, calculating, cool, Drive gives an adrenaline shot to the movies I haven’t felt in a long time.

by Max
Full Article

“…And a real hero and a human being”

Drive. It’s what sets humans apart from one another. It is also describes the main character in Nicolas Winding Refn’s new film, Drive.

Driver (Ryan Gosling) has no goals or connections in his life. Being used for one purpose, a master at getaway’s, Driver  lives a life of shadow and complete singularity. There is a precision to the way Driver completes his tasks that puts him far above others. One second your life may depend on him, the next he doesn’t remember your name. That is until the day he meets a young woman named Irene (Carey Mulligan). His short time together with Irene would be the happiest days of his life, but unfortunately it doesn’t last.

Irene’s husband,Standard (Oscar Isaac), is being released from prison and doesn’t take too kindly to how close Driver has come to his family. He quickly changes his mind when becomes clear he will need Driver’s help to protect his family. Driver agrees to help based on his love for Irene and her young son unaware of the danger he is entering.

The first half has a bit of the moody, music-video feel of Hong Kong’s Wong Kar-Wai; the latter half, the shocking, visceral ferocity of Korea’s Park Chan-Wook.

The beginning of Drive might confuse you into believing what is coming in later in film. The second half blew all expectations away. Christopher Orr of The Atlantic puts it best, “The first half has a bit of the moody, music-video feel of Hong Kong’s Wong Kar-Wai; the latter half, the shocking, visceral ferocity of Korea’s Park Chan-Wook.” Considering my love for both directors work, I was captivated during the mellow, music-video approach from the beginning and mortified by what was after.

In fact, that might be the most polarizing facet of Drive. While the beginning might be considered boring to some and captivating to others, the opposite could be said for the rest of the film. From humble beginnings, Drive revs its engine holding nothing back. Those who are uncomfortable with extreme violence (Oldboy, History of Violence), I caution your entry into Drive. This is no holds bar action and at times I wonder how it avoided being edited.

Drive has an incredible array of talent associated with it. Carey Mulligan proves fine here, when considering the last time I saw her (Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps) she was lacking. The other standouts include, Bryan Cranston who plays Shannon, a father figure to Driver and Albert Brooks who commands the screen as criminal mastermind, Bernie Rose. At the heart of it all is Ryan Gosling as Driver. While this isn’t a role outside of his typical depressed and harrowing youth, Gosling becomes the action star he was born to become. The hope is that his lengthy filmography this year will give him similarly captivating roles in the future.

Drive is one of my favorite films of the year.

The music in Drive should be considered essential to the experience. Since some of the early moments in the film play like music-videos the soundtrack is quintessential to the success of those sequences. The score composed by Cliff Martinez helps the 80’s vibe the film aspires towards.

Drive is one of my favorite films of the year. This could be described as an art-house action film, but it is so much more than the sum of its parts. While some will be turned off by the excessive violence, it shows how far Driver was willing to go to protect the ones he loved. Cold, calculating, cool, Drive gives an adrenaline shot to the movies I haven’t felt in a long time.

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About the Author


Chief Editor of Impassionedcinema. A film enthusiast who studies and creates his own films. Criticizing movies is his favorite pass-time.



    Hi Max, I haven't read this review as I am seeing DRIVE tonight, but to be fair I haven't seen a bad score YET!!

    And yours confirms this.

    I will come back and read this tomorrow.



    What Scott said. Haven't had high expectations like this in a while!


    The Wong Kar Wai vs. Park Chan-Wook analogy is a really spot-on call from The Atlantic. I hadn't even considered it on those terms, but totally…

    Loved this movie. Really interested in some of the polarized responses it's been receiving.


      Thanks for stopping by!

      I read an article today that was talking all about the contrasting opinions. Mainstream America just wasn't prepared to see this movie and that's where I think the biggest disparity lies. Everyone I talk to about thinks it's like 'Fast and Furious' and that couldn't be further from the truth! Ah well I love it and I see you do too!


    100% agree re the music in this film: I'm not often a fan of pop songs or non-original score in movies, but I think this is a terrific example of how songs can enhance a film experience.

    Great review Max!!


    Very Nice review. One of the coolest movie surprises for me. I might be bold in saying this, but "Drive" was my "Pulp Fiction" of 2011 in that I have never seen anything like it before. I went in expecting a nice avaerage action flick, and got so much more.

    Love the format of this site too.


      Thanks for stopping by. Thanks for the compliment about the site. I almost didn't want to re-advertise this since there's been so many positive writeups of Drive. It was my favorite film last year, so I suppose it's okay.


    This is my first film staring Ryan Gosling. i Loved his play so tried watching some other films he played.

    I came up with “Blue Valentine”, and (sorry if off topic) that film reminded me of “Eternal sunshine…” film. I mean moving from present to some memories in the past and LOVE being the subject. all I hated was about the girl, wish she was more easy going.

    (attention: these were not about this film!)

    and about this film: SO MUCH GORE! and yet you keep watching. it even came to see funny to me some how. :b

    I just don’t want to spoil the film for those who didn’t see it yet, otherwise i would like to talk about some scenes in the film. Like he wasn’t blinking in the last scene of the film…

    and, yes I liked the film and probably I’m going to watch it again.


      I tried to watch Blue Valentine, but it was so very depressing I couldn\’t make it through the film. I can somewhat see where you\’d draw comparisons to Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

      Speaking of Drive though, its easily my favorite film of the last few years. The gore is a deterrent, but I believe that\’s part of what makes it so memorable.

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